Two Bomet residents have sued their county Woman Representative Linet Chepkorir alias Toto over alleged nepotism for employing her immediate family members at her office.
In a suit filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi, Mr Collins Barno and Mr Stanley Kiprotich Bii claim that Toto failed to adhere to minimum requirements. There was no transparency, fair competition, merit and integrity in recruitment of her office staff. They claim that six of the 15 members of staff she hired are her relatives.
Also, her relatives are taking up Ksh 612,000 monthly pay out of the Sh811,000 allocated for staff salaries. However, the petitioners have not disclosed the alleged family relationship between the the women rep and each of the six employees.
The petitioners further allege that while appointing the six persons, Ms Chepkorir totally ignored the gender principle which is a requirement in public appointments as the Constitution dictates. There are only three women out of the 15 staff she has employed in her office.
The six persons are Bett Kipkirui (county manager, office of woman representative), Dominic Mutai (deputy manager), Sheila Chepng’eno (county coordinator), Josephat Kiplangat (field officer), Pius Kiplangat (communications officer) and Emmanuel Kipkorir (media personnel).
According to the petitioners, the action is not only an act of nepotism but also prejudicial to the adherence to the rule of law in the running of the public office. “Unless the said appointments are quashed by an order of the court, it will set a bad precedent in the country, where public institutions and appointments will be made unlawfully and irregularly on the basis of partisan consideration instead of strict compliance with the legal requirements,” the petitioners say.
They claim that they were waiting to apply for the jobs once advertised but they were later surprised that the she had handpicked family members and relatives.According to the petitioners, the six relatives taking home 75 percent of the total monthly salaries allocated to the staff in the payroll in the office raises suspicion of wanting to defraud the government.
“Some of the appointed support staffs of Bomet County women Representative have serious integrity issues and are not fit to serve as public officers. They were not cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) before appointment as required by law,” the petitioners claim.
Therefore,they want court to declare that the appointment of the six people by Ms Chepkorir to the public office as support staff in the office of Bomet county woman representative null and void, unlawful and unconditional.
“We urge the court to issue an order directing Ms Chepkorir and Parliamentary Service Commission to recruit their support staff afresh following the guildlines issued by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and strictly in accordance with the law,” the petitioners seek.
They are also challenging the appointments made by Ms Chepkorir on grounds that the public was not allowed to participate in the process, hence the recruitment was unlawful and constitutes an unfair labor practice.
The woman rep is also being faulted for failing to ensure there was inclusivity and equality in the process. Justice James Rika transferred the petition to the Employment and Labor Relations court in Eldoret stating that there was no reason for the case to be filed and heard at Nairobi.
“This Petition involves Bomet County. The Employment and Labour Relations Court is in Eldoret, Kisumu, Bungoma and Nakuru, centers which are nearer to Bomet, than Nairobi. There is no reason for the Petition to be filed and heard in the Court at Nairobi,” said Justice Rika.